And ‘theXBLIG of 2013’ is…

For all the bad press, and some really terrible games, I still believe 2013 was a good year for Xbox Live Indie Games. Hell, I think 2014 will be an even better year, once it’s all said and done. That may be a little overboard optimism on my part, but stopping to consider the quality of some of the recent releases has made me revise my outlook. Narrowing this year’s batch of games down to five top-tier XBLIGs wasn’t easy. That’s why I allowed anyone to include their Write-Ins, resulting in a vote apeice for several games (probably by the developers themselves, you sly dogs), and one vote for Uproar!, which is just, seriously, not funny.

So, without further pomp, and after an exhaustive counting of all the votes on-site (92, to be exact— not very exhausting), here are the Top Five XBLIGs of 2013, as voted by You.


5. Magicians & Looters (8 Votes)

It’s hard to imagine a Metroidvania on XBLIG currently that can hold a candle to Magicians & Looters. Excellent design and near-flawless balancing / pacing combine to compliment a humorous story. Castlevania it is not, sure, but Morgopolis Studios has crafted a solid indie alternative.


4. Arcadecraft (11 Votes)

You will likely never own an arcade. It’s sad, but the very next best thing to that would be playing Arcadecraft. You don’t get to play the actual games, but you do get to manage what’s in your arcade and how it’ll all pan out. Look at it this way, you get all the retro bleeps and bloops, with none of the snotty kids and inevitable bankruptcy.


3. Blood & Bacon (13 Votes)

Sometimes, you just want to shoot things and watch them explode into hundreds of tiny, bloody pieces. For the sheer joy of firing guns and watching the world turn red around you, you haveย Blood & Bacon. Featuring online co-op, 100 waves of enemies, epic boss fights, and a tough (but fair) challenge, it just simply satisfies.


2. Astralis (18 Votes)

As an open-world, third-person shooter on XBLIG, Astralis could win its respective genre by default. It’s just not something you typically see on XBLIG. Not content to rest on existence alone, the game carries one of the best camera and control systems around, letting you explore and cleanse its unique alien environments with ease.


And the winner is…

1. One Finger Death Punch (37 Votes)

Winning by a comfortable margin, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone that’s played it that Silver Dollar GamesOne Finger Death Punchย wins ‘theXLBIG of 2013’ honors. Using simple controls and an even simpler objective (beat the hell out of every stick ninja that comes your way), OFDP handily checks off the most important gameplay boxes; easy to learn, difficult to master, and ridiculously fun. If you don’t own this game yet, you are missing out on one of the best on Xbox 360, period.

20 thoughts on “And ‘theXBLIG of 2013’ is…”

  1. Sorry but blood and bacon owned all these games spec being the only on the list with flawless co-op but very cool to see us coming in at #3. Kilroys working on his new game as we speak.

    1. #3 ain’t bad at all, considering all the games that were released this year. Any chance that Kilroy adds onto Blood & Bacon with another map or mode, etc.? Or what the new game will be?

  2. OFDP, oh, so many memories in that little game. Even your comment section in that review make you remember some moments. It got nothing like it, is you say to someone “OFDP is like this another game.. errr well” you got nothing else to compare it. Well, maybe some music games is the closest you will get. The only thing this game is missing is a Online Leaderboard, is any game deserved is this one, don’t know why the developers did not included it. I think XBLIG polls should be Worst Games Of 2013, so you can include all the boobs games (I mean that’s the trademark). But as the song goes… No boobies no cry.

    I;m neglecting a bit the indies for the specials offers since the Cyber Monday, those indies will be always at that price so I can always come back and check them later. No Ronin of Verge this year hmmmm, so that’s means 2014 might got one or two good games. Well… keep the good job boyo, Merry Xmas.

    1. Thanks! Merry Xmas to you as well, sir. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully Santa brought you some nice strippers. OFDP is great as is, though I agree, even peer-to-peer leaderboards would have been worth it, just to see how much more evolved others ninja skills were compared to mine.

      As for a ‘Worst Of’ list, that would have been a fun one to oversee, but I figured everyone knows that pretty much any boob game would be on that list. Also ‘Uproar!’ would likely have taken #1 for me, and it got a mention, 2014 should be a solid first-half for indies on XBLIG. It remains to be seen how they start off on Xbox One. That’ll probably dictate where I go, whether I stick to covering XBLIG, or move on to Xbox One indies. We’ll see.

  3. Didn’t see that coming. I didn’t like OFDP that much, to be honest. Astralis totally deserves being up there, but I would have expected Magicians and Looters to do better, even if I don’t agree with the “flawless balancing”. Even after the patch, the boss fights were a pain in the ass and finally stopped me from finishing the game. That being said, I still consider M&L to be this year’s best XBLIG.

    1. That’s why I left it worded specifically at ‘near-flawless’. ๐Ÿ™‚ You and I had issues with the bosses, though there were others that had much less trouble, even before the update. That’s proof that no matter how well you design, there’s always someone that will still feel it’s too hard / too easy.

      Really, though, it’s the total design from top to bottom that makes it great. I could have personally seen it reaching #4, but, the readers have spoken.

  4. That was fun! I figured it to win but the real surprise to me was Astralis due to the main fact it was late in the year but sure came on strong. Guess I need to break down and spend a buck on it after all. Been so damn busy lately with the end of the year sales from digital sources across both PC and 360.

    1. It had a strong showing, indeed. Astralis is absolutely worth the buck, but yeah, can’t blame you when so many good games are on sale, or being given away (Playstation Plus subscribers will have a damn good January). Can’t play all of the games, let alone keep track of all the sales.

    1. Really? Hmm, to reference my own line from the article, you are missing out on some of the best indies the 360 has to offer. Any and all of these games are worthy.

    2. Astralis really was worth it.
      A fun game, check Tim’s rev and the comments below it.

  5. Congratulations to the top rated games ! My bet was that Astralis would be the champion of 2013, but One Finger Dead Punch is very good too!

    1. It looked that way for a little bit. Once the poll went up, it really started off as a race between Astralis and OFDP, but OFDP took the lead early and never looked back.

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